By Charles Pekow — The new federal surface transportation law allows classes and infrastructure improvements for high schools under Safe Routes to School for the first time. But it doesn't take federal aid to get high schoolers involved or write curriculum to turn them into advocates for better cycling. The Fresno State Transportation Challenge has proved that.
The Mineta Transportation Institute developed a secondary school civics education program and had to implement it remotely because of the pandemic with students from two California high schools. One high school class focused on ways to get more students to bike to school. The other focused on creating a more general local transportation plan.
In the first case, students met weekly and designed a survey to ask colleagues about biking to school. After the course ended, the students planned a bike to school day. At the second school, students studied the future of transportation and designed a transportation system that would work in a business area, including electric scooters and “bike drive-throughs” for fast food restaurants. The school planned to continue transportation education during summer school.
In both cases, students developed critical thinking skills and learned about transportation-related careers, something they generally had not been exposed to, according to the project's self-evaluation. The classes involved guest speakers.
You can find the project' report here: https://transweb.sjsu.edu/sites/default/files/2009-Wandeler-Fresno-State-Transportation-Challenge.pdf.